KyCIR Amplify: Jennifer Lynn Dennis, Former Prison Guard

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Eleanor Klibanoff

Lisa Suliman, Jennifer Dennis and Colleen Payton, pictured left to right, were part of a sexual harassment lawsuit that brought a $1.6 million judgment against the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

 

Employees from the Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Corrections are only 15 percent of the state government workforce, but they account for half of all the sexual harassment complaints statewide.

For her investigation into the high rate of sexual harassment complaints at state prisons, KyCIR’s Eleanor Klibanoff spoke with current and former prison guards, who told her that sexual harassment is often a part of the job. Jennifer Lynn Dennis, a former prison guard at the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in eastern Kentucky, said sexual harassment caused her to quit her job. 

Along with three other women, Dennis sued the Department of Corrections and Sergeant Stephen Harper and won. A jury awarded them $1.6 million, which the state is appealing.

Listen to Dennis in her own words in the sound player.

Harper did not respond to request for comment for this investigation. The Department of Corrections declined to comment.

Read our investigation into sexual harassment in Kentucky state government here.

Contact Eleanor Klibanoff at eklibanoff@kycir.org or or (502) 814.6544.

Our investigations seek to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens, expose wrongdoing and increase transparency. Amplify brings you the voices of the Kentuckians who feel the effects of the failures we reveal and secrets we expose. Hear more.